Rain Delays Game, Rebels Come Up Soggy
April 8, 2004
LAS VEGAS - After postponing the start of the game 45 minutes for inclement weather, the UNLV Baseball team (20-11, 7-3 MWC) had trouble getting its footing as the Rebels fell to BYU (14-22, 4-6 MWC) 8-7 on Tuesday night.
The Cougars were the first to put their mark on the scoreboard as right fielder Jeff Hiestand led off the second inning with a triple off of the wall in left field. Hiestand came around to score as shortstop Brandon Taylor hit a single into right field. Taylor would then score on a fielder's choice, giving BYU the early 2-0 lead.
The lead wouldn't last for long, however, as Rebel second baseman Ryan Ruiz tied the game up with one swing of the bat as he blasted a ball over the wall in right center, his fifth homer of the year, which scored right fielder Eric Nielsen who had reached base via a walk.
BYU added a run in the top of the fourth as catcher Casey Cloward picked up his second RBI of the night as he grounded out to second, scoring first baseman Ben Saylor.
The Cougars then tied it up in the top of the fifth as Saylor hit an RBI single to left field. Taylor then pulled BYU ahead 6-4 as he knocked a two-run shot over the fence in left, his eighth of the year. Cloward picked up his third RBI of the night as he doubled down the left line, scoring third baseman Ranger Wiens pushing the score to 7-4.
UNLV answered back in the bottom half of the inning, as Johnson doubled to right center, scoring shortstop Peter White who had reached on an error. Johnson would come around to score on a sacrifice fly by Ruiz, making the score 7-6.
The Rebels threatened in the top of the eighth, but couldn't convert, stranding two runners in scoring position.
The Cougars pulled away 8-6 in the ninth as Rebel reliever Ben Schienbam bounced a ball in front of the plate, allowing pinch runner Blair Lucas to score on the wild pitch. Rebel right fielder Eric Nielsen contained the damage, as he gunned down pinch hitter Kevin Bills at the plate.
The Rebels countered in the top of the ninth, as first baseman Chris Bonnell singled up the middle, scoring Nielsen and pulling the Rebels within one at 8-7.
Brent Johnson paced the Rebel offense, going 2-for-4 with 3 RBI and one run scored. Johnson's two hits in the game tied the all-time hit record for UNLV baseball, with 295, held by Steve Moser, who played at UNLV between 1983 and 1986.
Rebel Starter Matt Luca (5-3), who was charged with the loss, went four and two-thirds innings, giving up seven earned runs off of nine hits while walking one and striking out four. Ruiz was 1-for-4 with 3 RBI.
For the Cougars, Starter Patrick Wells (5-3) picked up the win while J.D. Stambaugh earned his first save of the year. Taylor finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, while Clowerd was 1-for-4 with 3 RBI.
The two teams will square off again tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on KSHP 1400 AM.